94% of BlackBerry trade-ins switched to other platforms during promo

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Tomorrow, March 5th, the $200 trade-in for an old BlackBerry device offer is ending. We’ve already heard from T-Mobile’s CMO that the promotion lead to 15 times the normal amount of BlackBerries being traded in. What we didn’t know was how many of them stuck to their platform, and how many swapped for different devices. Now we do.

We’ve received an image of an internal memo from one of our sources which shows that information. According to the field sales news update, 94% of all the people trading in their BlackBerry phones switched to non-BlackBerry devices. We don’t have a specific figure of how many customers that was, but we do know that the promotion was – according to our sources – “very successful“.

Now, when you look at the state of the market, at BlackBerry’s market share in particular, it’s not entirely surprising in and of itself. But, given the events leading up to the promotion, it is – at the very least – ironic.

In the weeks leading up to the $200 trade-in offer, T-Mobile had sent out promotional materials with a “great offer” for BlackBerry users. The offer: To grab a brand new iPhone at a great price. BlackBerry loyalists kicked up a huge stink, and the company’s CEO even responded, lambasting T-Mobile’s marketing campaign as “inappropriate and ill-conceived”. Following on from this very public criticism, Tmo wanted to show its BlackBerry using customers that it cared, and then kicked off the $200 trade-in promotion, offering an extra $50 off for anyone upgrading to one of the new BBerry phones (Z10 and Q10).

The result: Almost all of the customers trading in decided against sticking with their chosen brand, and went with something entirely different.

It’s certainly an interesting lesson in marketing, and response to customers. The initial marketing was perhaps not well thought through, and the loudness of the criticism from BlackBerry fans was almost deafening at times. T-Mobile, though, used this very public criticism as a tool, turned it around and played a winning card. Despite wanting to fiercely protect its brand, BlackBerry ended up losing customers, and Tmo had a successful marketing campaign.

BlackBerry promo end

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  • TmoEmp

    As a T-Mo employee, I can confirm this.

    • locomotive

      As a Tmo employee you can’t confirm that each single one of the blackberries were connected to Tmobile and working. So come down form the galaxy you are standing right now and set foot on earth
      Tmo just took a big hit by allowing people to get a new phone turning in old blackberries. Ebay almost ran out of these devices because people were getting them for 20 dollars and running to your stores to get a new I-phone or the like. if you think people really left blackberry at the rate of 94 % you are delusional!

      • dtam

        Overreacting a bit? Maybe he means, I can confirm this letter

  • mmunson

    I think TMO saves money because they would have less seats they would have to buy for the blackberry servers.

    • John

      Since the point was to migrate users off the older BB server and further consolidate onto the newer BB server, this promotion went a long way toward that goal.

  • Binny Gupta

    Damn tmobile is gonna get a lot of customers.

    • archerian

      we don’t really know the exact numbers of NEW customers… I’m pretty sure most of the trade-ins were from existing customers…

  • blahblahblahblah

    Ironic considering the 8 stores I called didn’t have any Z10’s in stock. The trade-in is only valid “in-store”.

    • SEBA

      In this case they should grandfather your deal until they get them back in stock

      • Blinkmoth

        T-Mobile stores no longer stock BlackBerry devices.

    • Willie D

      They will order you one and offer expedited shipping. But you must turn in the device in store.

  • besweeet

    Not surprising. BlackBerry died a long time ago, minus the small handful of diehards.

  • Chrisrj8084

    I wonder how many of those were actually BB users, I noticed people online buying old BB phones off ebay and amazon for cheap and using those to get a $200 credit towards a new phone. Almost did so myself.

  • Jay Holm

    Well. . .there’s nothing new from BlackBerry to choose from. . .

    • Discochip

      Obama uses a Blackberry as do other Government heads, duh cuz iPhones are the easiest thing in the world to hack, duh, you can even hack them through the charger as demonstrated by Georgia Tech students. FB, MS, Google and Apple are all in bed with the NSA, duh, but Blackberry’s are a Canadian firm. Duh, did I mention that Obama was told by the Sec Serv (not the drunk johns like down in Columbia) to use a Blackberry?

      • JennyC

        Androids* are the easiest phones to hack. Fixed it for you. I’m not saying iPhones or Windows Phone devices are not prone to hacking, but let’s at least be accurate.

      • NOYB

        Actually, Obama ditched his BB for an iPad.

        • locomotive

          Nope, He has an Ipad now however he can’t use the Ipad to connect to any of the secure networks. Don’t spread lies. He still has a BB and it has even more specifically designed features to protect the data than the rest of us. You are dreaming if you think the Secret Service will approve anything else to be use by the president. By the way there are rumors that the German Chancellor is also looking at BB to secure her communications and many EU leaders are also considering this!

        • Denton

          Merkel already has a modified hack proof Z10….the rest of the German govt. Is also switching

    • Jamie

      My Z30 is the newest premium phone on the market, BB10 is the newest OS on the market. Do you have a clue what your talking about?

      • JonP

        Tmobile doesn’t carry the Z30 and most stores don’t carry Blackberry phones at all. So if you wanted a phone right away, you would have to select another platform. And even if you were to have them order and ship you one I’ve heard they’re on backorder

        • Jay Holm

          Ahh. . .so Im right then!

      • nearvanaman

        Well in a way Jay’s right. There was nothing new at T-Mo to choose from. They have refused to comment beyond “no news” on the stocking of the Z30. I was using a Note 3 since October and was all ready to “Jump” in April to a Z30 (after all, flipping phones is the point of Jump). But, since they would not stock it, I bought one unlocked, cancelled Jump, cancelled T-Mo and went back to AT&T (for some proper coverage). So, hey, they lost one customer I guess.

        • locomotive

          I think Verizon took almost the exclusivity selling the Z 30. I found difficult to believe that they will take ” a dead brand” and continue to sell it. After all they are the biggest wireless provider in the USA and one of the biggest in the world. Why would they get the Z 30 if it isn’t a good deal for them?

      • Denton

        They don’t get it…it’s like waving a shiny object in front of them….they act like deer caught in a set of head lights

  • I7up2001

    You should note in your article that the traded-in was for any Blackberry phone 2-3-4-5 yrs old in working condition,didn’t need to be connected to a carrier,So a person that converted 2-3 years ago to an other brand,but still had their old Blackberry could take advantage of the promotion to upgrade their current Iphone or Android,So that doesn’t mean 94% were actual Blackberry user, But I suspect were IP4 S2 S3 user looking to upgrade their current phone.and had an old Blackberry in their drawer

  • Willie D

    Just turned in my old Blackberry Bold 9650 from Sprint today and applied the $200 toward my EIP on my LG G2 so I’m golden on that. However, honestly, this was NOT a successful marketing case. Reason why? TMobile offered a deal to BlackBerry users to move to an iPhone, fine and dandy. BlackBerry users got upset and screamed. TMobile offered $200 for trade in and $250 for upgrading to a new BlackBerry, fine and dandy. But then 95% of these people with BlackBerry devices moved to iPhone, Android and Windows anyway. Meaning that TMobile likely paid more with giving $200 for old BlackBerry devices than the original iPhone promotion price would have been. That’s not successful financially, however, with people like me, it shows that TMobile is willing to flip a buck to make a buck, and for myself personally, I am willing to stick around knowing a business thinks of its custoners THEN its bottom line.

    • Husam Hammadi

      I called around the T-Mobile places and they told me that to use the trade in promo, i had to upgrade my phone and that i couldn’t just apply the $200 to my EIP (S4 bought last year)

      If you did apply the 200 to your EIP, could you tell me how? thanks.

      • krym73

        He’s BS, You have to do eip

        • Willie D

          Yeah I did do EIP on a cheap phone, paid out of pocket that down payment. But the $200 credit could be applied toward that, and the rest as a bill credit, or payment toward an existing EIP. I chose payment toward the EIP. So no its not bull. I can upload receipts if you like.

      • dtam

        you do have to buy a new phone which can be the alcatel evolve which will give you $125 or so to apply to your EIP.

        think about the promo, it’s for people to switch from blackberry to something new. they don’t actually want your blackberry, they just want you to get a new phone

      • Willie D

        The $200 is just a trade in credit value. You ask to apply it to your existing EIP if you have one on an existing line, however, you WILL have to start either a new line with an phone EIP or tablet line with EIP as part of the deal. In my case. I needed a second line, and when it asked how to apply the $200 it gave the rep the option to apply toward payment of this current EIP I had, toward a bill credit of $200 or use it for down payment of the new EIP and balance applied to bill credit or EIP.

  • shadlom

    Oh the irony, lmfao!

  • I7up2001

    So I would say your title is VERY misleading

  • nortel_ottawa

    This is actually not bad for Blackberry. Considering they only had about 0.5% market share, they are able to convert 6% of the trade-ins to newer blackberries.

  • kev2684

    blackberry ceo got mad because of an iphone offer, t-mobile ceo gave exclusive offer to blackberry customers option to jump not only to apple, but also to android. of course they’re picking z1, G2, G Flex, One, iPhone, S4 and Note 3 over the z10. maximum trolling

    • IamDefiler

      And WP.

      • JennyC

        Yup WP here! :)

  • Derrick

    So tomorrow is the last day? If so I may have to go take advantage of this.

    • Love Tmobile

      yeah, have 5 lines and brought in 5 working Blackberry Curves(no longer active) on another carrier. They credited me $200 per phone and i put it towards their cheapest phone for $75. Leaving me with $125 credit per phone. Applied it to my bill. Small loophole somewhere there.. oh well my gain….

      • dtam

        I wanted to upgrade my parents phones anyways and wanted to play with a WP so I only got 2 of the Evolves, lumia 521, 2 galaxy lights…still ended up with $200 credit when all was said and done

  • Alexander

    A very, very misleading headline. You used the word “switched” which would imply that 100% of the customers taking advantage of the deal were current BlackBerry users. I would surmise that 94% of the trade-ins were inactivate phones people had laying around at home or picked up to take advantage of the deal. An example would be a Nexus 4 user grabbing a 6 year old BlackBerry out of the garage and using it for a $200 discount while upgrading to a Nexus 5. These were not platform conquests for Android and iOS spurred by T-Mobile’s upgrade offer.

  • Alexander

    To my other comment I would like to add my personal experience. I did an online chat with two T-Mobile customer service reps when this deal first started and the only phone they had available was a refurbished BlackBerry Q10, but this deal was stated to be in-store only. So I went to 3 different stores, none of which had a BlackBerry Z10 or Q10. Not only that they could/would not order one for me. I called T-Mobile customer service and was told they do not have any available for shipping either. Finally a full week in to the promotion they added the Q10 and Z10 to their website, but most stores still could/would not order them for customers (I know I tried again a few more times). So I bought a bunch of Android phones, took the account credit, sold the phones, and earned myself enough money to buy an unlocked BlackBerry Z30, Z10 and some leftover I may put towards a Q10 if I decided to upgrade my BlackBerry 9780. It’s kind of funny that I am counted in the 94% that “switched to other platforms” yet my account has 3 BlackBerry phones on it and no other platforms represented.

    • freddysrevng2

      Great story…how do you like the Z30?

      • Denton

        Z30 is the best phone right now

        • krym73

          Saying the z30 is the best phone… is similar to having sex with a dead women and saying she gives the best sex. .pls stop it…

        • Denton

          Notice I said PHONE….you know….superior battery power,no dropped calls,multitasking, secure emails, awesome keyboard……but I guess if you like shiny gold objects and are really cool….go for it with the rest of the sheep

  • Mr.Awesome

    Over half the people trading in phones had blackberries in their desk drawers that were collecting dust and traded them in for something awesome. I mean, almost everyone has a blackberry hidden somewhere in their house they were the most popular smartphone for several years. I wouldn’t use this promo as a means to say people “left blackberry” and joined other OS’es.

  • pezman726

    I traded in 3 blackberries I bought from a co-worker. I have been wanting to switch to t-mobile because coverage in my area is similar to what I had with at&t. However, switching and buying new phones (to pay off my ETF) would only net me about $10/month. With this deal, I was able to trade in the blackberries, have enough credit to buy 3 new phones (Lumia 521s) AND still have $160+ credit in my account. I am now happily off of AT&T. Coverage has been good (I put the sim in my unlocked AT&T Lumia 920) with one exception…but when i switched back to the lumia 521, reception picked up…so i’m putting that on the fact that the lumia 920 doesn’t have all the t-mobile network bands on it!
    Thanks to blackberry and t-mobile for making my switch possible! (Or maybe I should say…Thanks blackberry for making John Legere mad at you…) :-D

    edit: Side note….just read through the entire article….they need someone to proof read that. “ways to write the wrongs”???

    • jt

      I had to install the Rogers ROM on my att Lumia 920, and ask a buddy from Nokia to turn on the t-mobile bands. Apparently, att rom disables t-mobile bands and the only way to enable them is through a special software app that they have. Works perfectly..even got the Lumia black update through Rogers.

      • pezman726

        How is that possible???? I figured the chip they used just didn’t have the bands ON it, instead of them just being disabled! Can you find out what that software was called? That would be awesome!

        • jt

          Hardware wise all Lumia 920 made for North America are similar to the Developer version from Build conference. Difference is that ATT disables tmo bands where as Rogers doesn’t. I asked for the software but he said it was a special program available to their software engineers that’s not available to the general public. Unless you know someone that works at Nokia (San Diego), your best bet is the sell your Lumia and buy a Rogers Lumia 920.

  • WTangoFoxtrot

    what nonsense is this ? you and force everyone to move to Android and iOs by not providing us customers the choice to upgrade to the newer Blackberry devices by not stocking anything in the country and then tout this number calling it “giving free choice” ?? rather disgusted by how misleading you are Tmo..

    • Fab-Abds

      Exactly. Delay the updates and they will switch. As simple as that.

    • Paul

      While you see your point and agree somewhat, they have the choice of Windows, Android, IOS, and BB. So there is a choice, it just may require you to wait a day or two to get your BB shipped to your door step.

    • Denton

      Exactly t-mobile is a joke…

    • Ordeith

      They offer one Windows Phone as well.

  • ManwellC

    Buying another Blackberry would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic while it was sinking. How is anyone surprised at this?

  • Joe

    93% of BlackBerry trade-ins used BlackBerries bought off Craigslist or similar source specifically to abuse the program.

    • Turb0wned

      Yup. Bought 2 blackberry pearls the day before it started for $25 each.

  • hofjac

    T-Mobile has not yet figured this out, but all they did was stick one to themselves. It is highly likely that 90% of the BB traded in were sitting in drawers somewhere collecting dust. Those users never intended to do anything with those phones..Now T-mobile in its wisdom gave them $200 for it. Who really won here? I doubt that it was T Mobile.
    But it does make for a interesting headline and the T Mobile idiot CEO got to sing…hear me sing..

    • Jump

      You are not super bright. Stay away from posting.

    • schweddyballs

      They aren’t handing out 200$ cash, its a 200$ discount towards an eip phone, so tmobile is STILL making money once you signed a payment agreement for the new phone you just got. So whether or not it was sitting around collecting dust you just bought a new smartphone worth way more than 200$, who really won here?

      • Rdaex

        Uh nope.. the news made its way to slickdeals, where there is almost 200 page thread with people posting how they bought evolves with their BB trade ins and used the remainder as bill credits, and plan on cancelling the accounts and getting that amount refunded. It was treated as a huge scam, and should have been denied by the reps and stores.

        Boost mobile probably sold thousands of their refurb curves ($25) the past week.

  • Denton

    Hmm mm 6 percent did not switch, BlackBerry only had less than 3 percent market share last quarter….looks like they doubled there user base!!!!

    • PiCASSiMO


  • Trey Granato

    Well this is frustrating, I called a rep asking when this would end and he told me that it ended in April, so I was holding off on it until this weekend.

    • Turb0wned

      Not to be a jerk but that’s what you get for listening to reps.

  • deng

    Everyone I know who participated in this promotion bought old Blackberry phones to trade in so 94% aren’t switching since they weren’t Blacberry customers anyway. I would have bought the AWESOME Blacberry Z30 if Tmobile carried it

  • tech916

    Got my 3 Blackberrys in for Nexus 5